[Update] Vladimir’s Robot Guitar


[Vladimir Demin] is somewhat of a legend for us; in his spare time he’s been mastering the automation of musical instruments. This time he’s back with upgrades to his build and four new videos. [Vladimir’s] top priority was to rework the strumming mechanism that earlier ran on solenoids. He’s improved the sound quality and reduced the clicks by swapped to stepper motors and overhauling the software.

Compared to his earlier setup, this one sounds more soulful and less automated, but [Vladimir] admits that it’s still not good enough and that he’s working on a new, brilliant implementation. Until then, take a few minutes and check out the rest of the videos below, then join us in scratching our heads in amazement: everything is built with simple hand tools.

[Vladimir] has come a long way, and it started with this Bayan (button accordion). Last year’s guitar build is also worth a look, as well as an in-depth interview.

24 thoughts on “[Update] Vladimir’s Robot Guitar

  1. In addition to the amazing mechanicals, I think it shows a lot of hacker spirit to re-purpose an old handheld radio for the brains of the thing. He mentioned in a previous post that you can hear a synthesized version of the tune to be played on the radio’s speaker in case the mechanicals are not connected – using the radio’s DAC and amplifier with his reflashed radio SW. He must have sooo much time into this!

  2. What, no Miserlou?

    Anyway, looks AWESOME, great technically, still sounds a bit robotic. Timing is very mechanical, and something about the sound as well, even though it’s an actual guitar. Great project!

      1. i play finger8tyle cla8ical guitar(6 year8, performed at a 8how in bran8on for a while too) and i have to agree thi8 did 8ound a bit robotic but that8 ju8t becau8e there i8 no meat to the plucking. it i8 all nail which make8 for a picked 8ound decrea8ing the flow of the 8ong, one of the main 8ound8 from finger8tyle guitar i8 the meat of the finger plucking the 8tring give8 it a deeper feel not to 8ay the fingernail plucking i8nt important it ju8t ha8 a different 8ound to it (more robotic, too clean, no 8oul, mu8ic box)

          1. well to each their own opinion ju8t be 8ure to let me know when you have played proffe8ionaly and ill li8ten then, finger8tyle ju8t doe8nt 8ound right when heavily picked when i 8tarted learning guitar about 10 year8 ago ye8 i 8tarter with a pick and plain old 8trumming but finger8tyle i8 another bea8t entirely. i think after a8 long a8 ive been playing i would know what 8ound8 proper

    1. yes, not just timing, but I think it’s also the fact that the rig has only one volume level for any note that it would play. maybe in a future build/upgrade the picks can be programmed for height adjustment while playing in order to strum harder or softer and give it a more natural ‘feel’. that and maybe introduce a small but semi-random time delay for each strum instruction in order to ‘humanize’ the playback.

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